Returning and Reusing Sats probes

by Jack Lord (COVID Ambulatory Clinic Admin)

Oxygen saturation probes are currently in short supply as many hospitals and GPs have been purchasing them. Also the public have discovered the value and benefits of this relatively inexpensive piece of kit and thus have bought them.1

When patients are sent home they receive a sats probe and a patient leaflet. The patient leaflet has instructions about how to return the sats probes, and a map showng the location of where to return it to, when they are asymptomatic.2 Patients are asked to return their sats probes to a box in AECU at the RBH.

We ask the patients to write their name on a piece of paper with the sats probe, so that we can update the list of who has returned their sats probes.

Sats probes are picked up from the return box daily by a member staff wearing PPE. Then they are cleaned with green Clinell wipes and stored for 1 week before they are redistributed.

Unfortunately the return rate with the above system was quite low. Patients perhaps felt anxious about returning to hospital during the COVID pandemic. Maybe patients were uncertain about whether this was an ‘essential journey’. So we developed a system of sending out a text message to all the discharged patients using a dedicated company3 and phoning those without mobile phones.  Thus probes are returned in person or by post.

Text message is as below:

Message from Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
According to our records you have been issued with an Oximeter finger probe. If you have been discharged from the COVID Ambulatory Clinic and have not already returned the Oximeter finger probe please can you do so in order for it to be reissued to another patient.

You can do this either by post to:
Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit
Royal Berkshire Hospital
Craven Road

Or by hand Monday to Friday 8:30-4:00 Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit in the South Block Outpatients 2 of the hospital. Please attach a note with your name to the probe so we know it has been returned.
This would be extremely helpful during this current COVID19 crisis. Thank you.